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Fluid Urinalysis: Five Chapters From the Medicine of the Moon King


· Tony Chui The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, Hong Kong)


07/27 | 13:30-13:50 UTC+2/CEST


The Medicine of the Moon King (Sman dpyad zla ba’i rgyal po) is considered one of the earliest authorities in the Tibetan medical tradition, and it has deeply impacted the theoretical and practical aspects of the tradition. An examination of its section on urinalysis, which consists of five consecutive chapters, shows that a wide variety of theoretical frameworks is offered in each chapter: from a discussion of the physical appearance of urine to the effects of seasonal influences, and to demons as a pathogenic factor; from basic Chinese five-element (wu xing) geomancy to the application of Chinese geomantic cosmology to the human body. Although these concepts can be observed as complementary across the chapters, the five chapters can be read independently and are self-explanatory even without knowledge of the others. Urine diagnosis can thus be carried out in the context of a variety of different methods and perspectives. While there is a lack of diagnostic homogeneity across the five chapters, the different presentations serve to frame urinalysis in a case-based, differentiated and pragmatic fashion instead of limiting its practice within a single, unified chapter. This paper assesses the flexible diagnostic potential for medical practitioners of this dynamic fluidity in urinalysis methods in the Medicine of the Moon King at this key developmental stage in the medical tradition. As the Chinese geomantic, macrocosmic worldview interacts with the practice of medicine at the microcosmic level of the individual, the result is an enriching nuance and flexibility which can safeguard against any limitation and rigidity in the diagnosis of pathology.